The Rawnsley Archive came originally from Allan Bank after the death of Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley’s second wife, Eleanor Foster Rawnsley, in April 1959.

Rosalind Rawnsley inherited a trunk of papers, along with various other items from Allan Bank. These had been collected by Rosalind’s father, Conrad Rawnsley, grandson of Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, and handed over to Rosalind.

The archives moved to Scotland with Rosalind & her husband John.  Some papers & photographs were transported to their house in France.  Rosalind used the Archive for her own research purposes & also dealt with researchers.

On a visit to my house in June 2009 she saw the arrangement of the Langney Archives and decided to offer up the Rawnsley Archive so that it could be sorted, listed, boxed & stored in acid free boxes. This would ensure better preservation of the material and make it easier to deal with enquiries from researchers.  I agreed to take on the task and the majority of the Archive was formally handed over in 2010.

The material from Rosalind did not all arrive together.  Some items had been retained in France as they were still being used by Rosalind for her research.  Over the following years these items gradually made their way into the Archives.  In 2011 a few more items arrived, and a Rawnsley Record Book was deposited in 2017.  

In 2018 a quantity of Edith’s watercolours were delivered & in 2019 the Tennyson letters and a file of Hardwicke’s poetry was deposited.  COVID prevented any celebration of the centenary of his death in 2020, but a further file, mainly of Rosalind’s research material, was handed over in 2021.

The Rawnsley Archive contains personal material of Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley.  The material goes back a generation to Hardwicke’s mother, Catherine Rawnsley, & includes her commonplace books containing his poetry, but also some diaries of Catherine’s.  Edith Rawnsley’s (née Fletcher) archives include a large collection of her watercolours.

The list includes the Harry Ruckley Archive which was handed to Rosalind by his daughter after Ruckley’s death.  Harry had intended to write a biography of Hardwicke & had borrowed & photocopied various papers & photographs from the Archive, as well as elsewhere. 

It is clear that Hardwicke would have generated huge amounts of correspondence in his lifetime, but much of this has disappeared and is not reflected in the Archive.  Similarly, there is not much material generated by Eleanor Rawnsley (née Simpson), Hardwicke’s second wife.

A collection of Hardwicke’s papers came up for sale in 1996 at Hollett & Son, Antiquarian Book Sellers in Sedburgh, on behalf of an unknown seller, possibly Janet Martin, who had started, but never completed a biography.  The collection was bought by the Curwen Archives Trust for Kendal Archives.

Mary Williamson